206 Tours | Jesus, Remembering 9/11 We Pray
Today we remember all the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001. In the days that followed, we came together as a nation, finding connection and unity in our grieving, our sadness, our hope, and our strength. As a country, and as brothers and sisters all over the world, we continue to mourn seventeen (17) years later, we pray for peace.
Let us pray for:
  • All those who lost their lives that day are at home with Jesus.
  • All the families who lost loved ones find healing and take comfort knowing our Lord’s promise of eternal life and everlasting joy.
  • All the survivors and for all heroes who selflessly risked or gave their lives for us.
In remembrance, let us pray together for healing and peace;
“Father of all, God of all nations, we give you thanks for the mystery of infinite compassion and love expressed in the covenant of creation and renewed through the blood of the new and everlasting covenant shed by your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of all people.

With our brothers and sisters of other world faiths, we employ your mercy and pray for an end to violence.

May all people live together in peace and tranquility, recognizing your own divine image, giving you praise and glory here on earth and together forever in your kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”

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St. Fautsina & Divine Mercy | 206 Tours | Poland

On Sunday, February 22, 1931, through the mediation of St. Faustina, Christ passed on the message of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki in Poland. As the 20th Anniversary of her Feast Day approaches, we reflect on her incredible life and the miracle of Divine Mercy.
St. Faustina was born Helena Kowalska, to a poor but religious family in Poland in 1905. She joined the convent at the age of 20, taking the religious name, Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. While assigned to a convent in Plock, Poland – St. Faustina developed and illness which required her to rest for several months at a nearby farm.
On the night of Sunday, February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to her wearing a white garment with colorful rays emanating from His heart. She details in her diary that Jesus told her that the first Sunday after Easter is to be celebrated as the Feast of Mercy, and that he wished His image as he appeared before her be venerated and displayed for all to see.
Though she could not paint, she promised to venerate this image.  After a few years, with the help of Father Michał Sopoćko, she commissioned artist Eugene Kazimierowski to create the painting what has now become the famous image of Divine Mercy. It is accompanied by the phrase “Jezu ufam Tobie” or “Jesus, I trust in You.” The image has been replicated and distributed countless times, however, the original painting now resides at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Vilnius, Lithuania.
For years, St. Faustina conversed with Jesus and devoted her life to His mission of spreading Divine Mercy. Through her steady and impassioned work, the message of Divine Mercy did spread rather quickly through the distribution of brochures, books, and prayer cards. Divine Mercy became a source of inspiration and strength for the Polish people, as just before her death in 1938, St. Faustina predicted that a terrible war was approaching. By 1941, the image and message of Divine Mercy had reached many countries, even as far as the United States.
The main message of the Divine Mercy devotion is to ask for, and receive, the Mercy of God through consistent confession, to trust in Jesus’ Mercy, and to show mercy to others as God would.
In the 1950s, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII personally spread messages of, and approved the devotion to, the Divine Mercy. St. John Paul II was an ardent supporter of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy – and so he Beatified her in 1993, and Canonized her on April 30th, 2000. Surprisingly, he closed the Canonization by officially designating that Sunday after Easter as the “Feast of Divine Mercy”. Coincidently, St. John Paul II died in Saturday, April 2nd, 2005 – on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was later Beatified by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011, and Canonized on the Holy day in 2014 by Pope Francis.

Sister Gaudia Skass photographed on a 206 Tours Pilgrimage to Poland.
Sister Gaudia Skass photographed on a 206 Tours Pilgrimage to Poland.

The legacy and strength of the message of Divine Mercy has not wavered, much in part due to the loyalty and perseverance of St. Faustina and those who honored her legacy. St. Faustina now lies at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, Poland. As her October 5thFeast Day approaches, we take this opportunity to reflect on her devotion and trust in the Mercy of Jesus. In April of 2020, many Catholics will make a Pilgrimage to Poland to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Divine Mercy Sunday and the Canonization of St. Faustina, to learn more about how you can join, visit http://www.206tours.com/divinemercy/

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206 Tours - What is a Relic Blog
Many Pilgrimage visit important Shrines that house Sacred Catholic Relics. Understanding the way relics are classified in the Catholic Church is important to fully appreciate these amazing pieces of our shared history and why they are so strongly venerated.
A Relic, in religious terms, usually refers to the physical remains or personal effects of a Saint or Holy person that have been saved and preserved in an official reliquary, also known as a Shrine.  The Catholic Church recognizes three classes of relics.

1. First-Class Relics

The most sacred class, a first-class relic refers to an item that is directly associated with the life of Jesus Christ. However, physical remains of a Saint’s body are also classified as first-class relics. In many cases, this type of first-class relic is entombed in an altar stone.
An example of a famous first-class relic can be found in Bethlehem in the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square. It is in the Grotto of the Nativity that you can see a relic of the original Manger at the place of Jesus’ birth – now marked by a star in the floor.

206 tours - relics blog - church of the nativity

Another example of a first-class relic is the incorrupt body of St. John Vianney, the patron Saint of Parish Priests, who’s remains are entombed above the main altar in the Basilica in Ars-sur-Formans in France. 

206 Tours - St. John Vianney - Relics Blog

206 Tours - St. John Vianney - Relics Blog

You can visit Ars on our Great Shrines of France Tour.

2. Second-Class Relics

A second-class relic is typically a personal belonging of a Saint or Holy person. In many cases, this is a piece of clothing or an object used by the Saint. The Latin term, “Ex indumentis”, meaning “from the clothing”, is often used when referring to a second-class Holy relic.
A famous example of a second-class relic is the chain that attached the Apostle Paul to the Roman solider while imprisoned in Rome, which is housed in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. 

206 Tours - Relics Blog

206 Tours - Relics Blog

3. Third-Class Relics 

An object that has been touched to a first-class relic is classified as a third-class relic. Many Catholics will bring a Crucifix or Rosary to a shrine and touch it to the venerated relic, thereby making it a third-class relic. However, unlike first and second-class relics, third class relics will not be formally recognized with official documentation.

Traveler’s Tip: Third-Class Relics Make Great Gifts!

When traveling in the Holy Land, you can visit all of the sites, and in the order of the Gospel. You will have the opportunity to enter the Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, touch the Rock of Agony in the Church of All Nations, touch the star in the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity .. and many more. Bring extra Rosaries with you – and have them in hand when you touch each spot. This way, you can gift friends and family members with Third Class Relics when you return home!

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Father Seán Connolly pictured above at the Knock Shrine while on a Pilgrimage with 206 Tours.

For the past several years, Father Seán Connolly has been a Spiritual Director on a number of 206 Tours Pilgrimages, guiding pilgrims to experience their faith in new ways in Catholic sites like the Holy Land, Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, Mexico, and Ireland.
Fr. Connolly is the currently the Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady Parish in Tuckahoe, New York. He recently authored an essay which was just featured on Catholic World Report’s, “The Dispatch”, about the 1879 apparitions in Knock, Ireland. 

As the World Meeting of Families begins this week in Ireland, we’re excited to share his inspiring message and insights with you below.

The Unspoken Message of Heaven at Knock

Published August 21, 2018 originally featured on Catholic World Report “The Dispatch”, seen here. 

Written by Father Seán Connolly

139 year ago this very day, an unspoken message from heaven came to our world at the rural wayside village of Knock, Ireland. The little hamlet was a forgotten corner of the earth in 1879. It consisted of a dozen houses or so, along with the little parish church, the rectory, a school-house, a post office and a few small shops. The village and the social condition of its people at the time, was in many respects like that of the little village of Nazareth in the days of our Lord Jesus. It was poor, peaceful and unknown. Both were under the oppression of a foreign occupier—for Nazareth two thousand years ago it was the Romans, and for Knock a century and a half ago it was the English. The Penal Laws were imposed upon the Irish in attempt to stamp out their Catholic faith; those laws were as degrading as they were oppressive.

Painting at the Knock Shrine captured by Fr. Connolly

Just as they began to be relaxed though not repealed, more misery struck the people of western Ireland. The Great Famine which was proximately caused by potato blight but worsened on account of the repression imposed by the occupying government, resulted in the deaths of one million while another million were to emigrate, reducing the island’s population dramatically. The Great Famine took place between 1845 and 1849, but its last waves continued up until the time of the astonishing event that took place in Knock. Further potato blight was always the great fear. And in that year of 1879, that fear was realized when the crop was found to be a complete failure. The only prospect in the time ahead was further hunger and misery. It was in the midst of this struggle and sorrow that the miraculous message appeared before the villagers of Knock in front of the gable wall of their parish church.

The whole day of August 21, 1879 was marked by a dismal downpour of rain from dawn until dusk. The dreariness was an apt metaphor for a nation plagued by poverty, hunger and oppression. At about 7:30 in the evening, a young woman of the village named Mary Byrne was accompanying Mary McLoughlin, the priest’s housekeeper, to her home. As they came in sight of the gable wall of the little parish church, Mary Byrne remarked to the priest’s housekeeper, “O, look at the statues. Why didn’t you tell me the priest had got new statues for the chapel?” But Mary McLoughlin said she’d heard nothing about them. On coming nearer, however, Mary Byrne said: “But they’re not statues, they’re moving. It’s the Blessed Virgin!” She ran home to tell her widowed mother as well as her brothers and sister and soon others had gathered.

There were fifteen primary witnesses who gave documented testimony of what they saw, but as many as 25 to 30 were reported to have seen the vision. They ranged in age from five to 74. Together in the pouring rain they beheld the beautiful spectacle. The Blessed Virgin Mary was in the center of the apparition. She was wearing a large brilliant gold crown and was clothed in white garments. Her hands were raised in prayer and her eyes gazed toward heaven. To her right was her spouse, St. Joseph, whose head was inclined toward her. To her left was St. John the Evangelist, who was attired as a bishop wearing a miter and was holding a book, perhaps the Gospel he wrote, in his left hand. His right hand was raised as if he was preaching. To the left of St. John was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb surrounded by angels.

The eldest of the visionaries, the 74-year-old Bridget Trench, in an act of natural and humble piety, approached the vision to kiss the Virgin’s feet. She was, however, unable to do so. She could not touch what she saw with her eyes and only passed through the image to feel the gable wall of the church in her attempt. The vision lasted for a full two hours. Though it was raining, the ground beneath the vision was dry. A light emanating from the heavenly figures was witnessed by a farmer about half a mile away from the scene.

The enigma of the apparition at Knock was its silence. We can only speculate as to why this is. Surely the reason goes deeper than the fact that at least two of the visionaries did not speak the same language. The oldest among them, Bridget Trench, knew only Irish while the youngest, John Curry, knew only English. No message was imparted to the visionaries as there was by our Lady at Lourdes or Fatima. In those two famous apparitions the Mother of God requested more acts of penance, but such was not the case at Knock. The Irish people had suffered and done penance enough; no suffering or pain should ever be wasted. Those devout Catholic souls knew well that they must in prayer and place themselves in union with Christ’s own suffering. And this offering was answered by the celestial vision at Knock, whose unspoken message was one of love and solidarity with the perseveringly faithful Irish in their time of suffering and sorrow.

Picture of the Altar at the Knock Shrine taken by Father Connolly

Reports of “strange occurrences in a small Irish village” were featured almost immediately in the press, notably by The Times of London. Many miracles were reported, which were methodically recorded in the diary of the parish priest. For example, ten days after the apparition a mother brought her little girl to the gable wall of the church. The young Delia Gordon, had always been deaf in her left ear; her mother placed a small amount of cement or grout from the gable wall into her ear and said a prayer for healing. A little later during Mass, Delia felt an excruciating pain in her ear follow by immediate relief. Her ear had been healed and hearing restored. The apparition wall soon being torn apart by pilgrims chipping out the cement, mortar, and stones to have as relics and to use for prayer.

Two inquiries were held to study the reported apparition and to determine its authenticity. Unlike at Lourdes, no medical commission was ever established at Knock to verify whether claimed cures are unexplainable according to the medical sciences. The first commission of inquiry was established by the Archbishop of Tuam in October of 1879. Fifteen of the witnesses were formerly deposed and the commission’s members deemed their accounts to be trustworthy. In 1936, a second commission of inquiry was established to study the matter further, which relied upon interviews with the last of the surviving witnesses who all confirmed their prior testimony. Even John Curry, who was only four when he saw the vision and had since emigrated to America, was called (under threat of ecclesiastical penalty if he failed to show) to the chancery of the Archdiocese of New York to testify.

In this same commission, the aged Mary Byrne poignantly stated: “I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God.” She died only six weeks later. This second commission, like the first, deemed the testimonies given to be trustworthy.

It is now a commonly accepted pious belief that heaven favored the parish of Knock in particular because of the holiness of its parish priest Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh. He was known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, his penances (he wore a hair shirt), and for living very simply. He was told about the vision before the gable wall of his church but chose not to join his parishioners outside. This has been attributed either to a miscommunication or his disbelief. He later said that not witnessing the apparition “has been to me a cause of the deepest mortification. But I console myself with the reflection that it was the will of God that the Apparition should be shown to the people, not the priest.” Yet it is believed in Knock today that the Archdeacon was frequently favored with visits of our Lady in his own little cottage, and so knew well what was occurring but chose to leave the heavenly vision to be for the sole benefit of his flock. Indeed, many other miraculous manifestations surrounding him were reported but he always requested those who observed them to speak of them to no one.

Statues outside the Knock Shrine, photo credit Father Connolly. 

Today there is a large shrine built in honor of the apparition at Knock in County Mayo, Ireland. Over one and a half million people make a pilgrimage there each year. I was fortunate to be one of them this past month, a visit which inspired me to write this essay so more may come to know the unspoken message of heaven given at this holy place.

In just a few days, the Pope himself will go to Knock as a pilgrim while on his apostolic visit to Ireland. It will be a daunting trip. The Church in Ireland is devastated. Christopher Altieri described the current situation well in a recent essay for The Catholic Herald:

“The once proudly, fiercely Catholic people of Ireland are reeling and bitterly angry over the years of systematic abuse committed by priests and religious, and the coverup of that abuse by Church leaders. They’ve stopped going to Mass. They voted to amend their constitution to allow same-sex marriage in 2015 – even while marriage itself declines… Just this year, the Irish people voted to remove a constitutional protection on children in the womb. It would be hard – but fair – to say that the Irish people are in rebellion against the Faith – though it is not hard to understand the roots of that rebellion.”

There are no words the Holy Father can utter to make up for the failures of the Church or to quickly reverse the tide of secularization. But like the heavenly vision given in Knock, his presence among the hurting Irish Church can be one of union and solidarity in a time of trial. This unspoken message will, I think, be the most important one. And through the intercession of Our Lady of Knock the Queen of Ireland, may it at least begin the process of healing and the Irish people’s return to their greatest legacy—the Catholic faith.

Thank you to Father Seán Connolly for this detailed and insightful account of the Marian Apparition at Knock. To read the article on Catholic World Report’s website, click here

To visit Ireland and the Knock Shrine on a Pilgrimage, check out Tour 202 here
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Many people may not fully understand the deeply personal and religious nature that is the act of pilgrimage. Taking a trip to Rome, Lourdes, or Medjugorje with your spouse, spiritual director, or parish may sound to some like an excuse to take a few days off from work to experience a new culture and try new foods. However, a pilgrimage is not a vacation.
Vacation is defined as, “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity; usually used for rest, recreation or travel”.  On vacations, we relax, detach from our daily stressors, and treat ourselves to great foods, luxury, and fun activities.
Pilgrimage on the other hand has a much different meaning. A Pilgrimage is defined as, “a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion; as to pay homage.” A Pilgrimage is not a time for detachment, rest, or pampering, but rather a time of deep reflection, modesty, and prayer.
In 2016, during the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis delivered a speech containing his thoughts on the act of Pilgrimage to a sea of thousands of pilgrims making their own pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Square. He said: 
“A Pilgrimage is not the same as a Vacation… Making a Pilgrimage to shrines is one of the most eloquent expressions of the faith of God’s people… It would be a mistake to think that those who go on a pilgrimage live a spirituality that is not personal but rather of the masses. The reality is that the pilgrim carries within him his own history and faith and the lights and shadows of his own life. Each person carries within his or her heart a special wish and a particular prayer. Those who enter the shrine immediately feel they are at home, welcomed, understood, and supported.”

Clearly a Pilgrimage is not a “break” from responsibilities like a vacation is – rather it is a calling. It reminds us of our responsibility to our faith as disciples of Jesus. On a Pilgrimage, we encounter God in the very places where He has revealed himself. It can be a challenge – it can take us out of our comfort zone and incorporate tedious travel or navigating difficult terrain.  It is a transformational experience that changes lives, and brings us closer to our faith in ways we could never imagine through sincere and concentrated prayer.

To share your own experience of how Pilgrimage has changed your life, email us at jenny@206tours.com

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Archbishop Hoser - Medjugorje - 206 Tours Blog

Sunday July 22, 2018 was a historic day in Medjugorje, as they finally welcomed Archbishop Henryk Hoser to St. James Church. Thousands of locals and Catholic Pilgrims came to witness the celebration of Mass led by His Excellency, who was appointed the “Apostolic Visitor” to Medjugorje by Pope Francis on May 31, 2018.

Here is an excerpt from Archbishop Hoser’s homily:
“Let us now ask the fundamental question: Why do so many people come to Medjugorje every year? The clear answer is this: they come to meet someone, to meet God, to meet Christ, to meet His Mother. And then to discover the path that leads to the joy of living in the house of the Father and of the Mother; and ultimately to discover the Marian way as the more certain and sure one. This is the path of the Marian devotion that has been taking place here for.”
-Archbishop Henryk Hoser | St. James Church in Medjugorje July 22, 2018

His Excellency was born in 1942 in Poland and was elevated to Archbishop as personam in 2005 by Saint John Paul II – before being appointed to lead the Roman Catholic Diocese of Warszawa-Praga by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2008. On February 11, 2017 – Pope Francis assigned him to be the special envoy to Medjugorje, with the mission to determine the pastoral needs of the Parish seeing its popularity as a place for prayer and pilgrimage.
After reporting his findings, Archbishop Hoser resigned as the Archbishop of the Diocese of Warzawa-Prage on December 7, 2017. Later, Pope Francis’ went on to appoint him as the Archbishop to his post in Medjugorje for an indefinite period of time.
Medjugorje has a particularly special role in 206 Tours as it was the inspiration for the company’s founding and mission to help Catholics connect with their faith through Pilgrimage. Join us in prayer for Medjugorje, for Archbishop Hoser, and for world peace!
Archbishop Hoser - Medjugorje - 206 Tours

Learn more about Medjugorje here: http://www.206tours.com/search/medjugorje/

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7 Ways to Prevent Jet Lag
Rapid travel through multiple time zones can take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet Lag” is the phrase used to describe the condition when your body’s internal clock is out of sync with the actual time in the region to which you have traveled. It is important to try to adjust your internal body clock to get the most out of your tour. Here are some tips on how to prevent jet lag:

1.            Rise and Shine

On the day of the flight, consider getting out of bed earlier than usual. Waking up earlier, followed by a busy day spent in the airport, will surely help to tire you out so that you can easily fall to sleep on your overnight flight.

2.            Hydrate

It is common to become dehydrated on long flights. Make sure to drink lots of water, before you travel, to compensate for the possibility of dehydration. Keep drinking water during the flight, and after you arrive. Staying hydrated will help you to stay feeling well – dehydration can take a huge toll on the body and make us feel fatigued, dizzy and confused. This can even lead to muscle soreness and headaches.

3.            Eat Well

All of our Pilgrimages (except Mexico) require an overnight flight. In this case, you will likely be served an evening meal during your flight. Try to avoid foods that are very fatty or high in sugar or carbohydrates – these foods can keep you awake or impact the quality of your sleep.

4.            Change your Clocks

After you eat, set your watch ahead to the actual time of your final destination. This way, you are prepared and in sync when you land which will help to combat any grogginess or confusion you may experience.

5.            Catch Some Zzz’s

On your overnight flight, try to get to sleep as soon as you possibly can.

Stick to Your Nighttime Routine

Try to follow some resemblance of your nightly routine – if you watch a TV Show, read a book, take melatonin, or have a cup of tea before bed at home, do that on the plane as well.

Get Comfortable

We all know that airplane seats are not the most comfortable of spaces to sleep, so try to prepare ahead of time by making sure you have everything you need to get as comfortable as you can on your flight so that you can get to sleep quickly. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a travel blanket, neck pillow, eye mask and earplugs or noise cancelling headphones.
This is the most important step! Take advantage of this time to get as much rest as possible so that you can start you trip refreshed and ready!

6.            Stretch

If sleep is evading you, try to stretch as much as you can. Get out of your seat and move about the cabin a bit. Stretching will keep your muscles from cramping or becoming stiff and will increase your circulation and oxygen flow.

7.            Get Moving

When you get to your final destination, do not check in to your hotel for a nap! Get active right away and try to stay awake until 10:00 PM local time so that you adjust to the local time.

Touring often begins on the day that you arrive, so don’t miss some of the experience by sleeping or suffering through exhaustion. Proper preparation, and following these steps, will help you to take advantage of your travel time for rest so that you can make the most of your trip!
For more helpful travel information like this, check out our Final Instruction Booklets (included with your Travel Documents) or the specific Web Link’s to different countries entitled, “Know Before You Go”  http://www.206tours.com/info/

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In the Spring of 2019, 206 Tours will be joined by a very special guest – Actor and famous Catholic, Jim Caviezel, in the Holy Land.
His resume consists of such box office hits as Pay It Forward (2000) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) – but Jim Caviezel’s most famous role came in the form of Jesus Christ in the 2004 major motion picture, The Passion of the Christ.  The film, directed by Mel Gibson, attracted three (3) Academy Award nominations, along with a huge public response and international awards and nominations. The film details the final days of Jesus Christ’s life, and is still the highest grossing R-rated film of all time – in North America.
Since staring in The Passion Of the Christ, you may have seen Jim in CBS’s widely-acclaimed prime-time drama, Person of Interest (2011 – 2016), or in the film When the Game Stands Tall (2014) and Paul, the Apostle of Christ (2018).
Jim Caviezel - 206 Tours - The Holy Land
It was announced earlier this year that Jim will reprise his role as Jesus Christ in a new project with Mel Gibson, a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, rumored to be titled, The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection.  Jim describes playing the role of Jesus Christ to be a once in a lifetime experience and is excited to reprise the role. Though much of the plot is still under wraps, in recent interviews Mel Gibson has confirmed that the sequel will pick up right where the first film left off and will be based around the days following the Passion, the Resurrection, and the lives of those close to Jesus.
In a 2016 appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, when asked how this depiction of the Resurrection will be different than what we have come to worship every Good Friday, Gibson revealed, “it’s an amazing event, and to underpin that with the things around it is really the story to sort of enlighten what that means.” More than 14 years after the first film, Jim, now 49, is just as enthusiastic for the sequel. Earlier this year he made headlines when he said, “the film he’s (Gibson’s) going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”
In preparation for the project, Jim has decided to make apilgrimage to the Holy Land to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, visiting many Holy Sites. Many of the sites will align with the narrative of the film, including the true Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross), Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration, as well as the site of His Crucifixion and His tomb.
Raised in a deeply Catholic family in Washington, Jim has been married for over 20 years, and has three adopted Chinese children, all of whom have suffered serious illness. Jim’s wife will be joining him on the pilgrimage.  In a speech Caviezel delivered to thousands of college students at the SEEK Conference in 2018, he describes receiving a phone call from Mel Gibson about the role out of the blue. Speaking of finding your purpose or calling, he says that Gibson hand selected him, detailing;
“I didn’t know Mel Gibson, I wasn’t politicking for the rule because I didn’t know it was happening. Mel Gibson wants me to play Jesus Christ. He wants the guy with the initials of ‘JC’ who just happens to be 33 years of age, to play Jesus Christ. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.”
Jim Caviezel - 206 Tours - The Holy Land

Jim’s experience filming The Passion Of the Christ was quite extraordinary – he suffered accidental whipping, was struck by lightning, dislocated his shoulder, and suffered hypothermia which led to open heart surgery. Of the physical pain he experienced, he says, “When I was up there on the cross I learned that in His suffering was our redemption.” He also said, “(filming) was like a penance…the suffering made my performance, just as it makes our lives… so embrace your cross and race toward your goal.”

We are honored to be a part of Jim’s journey, and his pilgrimage to the Holy Land to gain a deeper connection to Jesus ahead of this exciting new film. For more information on joining Jim in the Holy Land, visit: http://www.206tours.com/jimcaviezel.

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206 Tours - Pope Paul VI & Oscar Romero

Last week The Vatican’s Secretary of State announced that Blessed Pope Paul VI and Blessed Archbishop Óscar Romero will be Canonized in October. Let’s take a look at the lives of these two amazing figures in the Catholic Faith.

Blessed Pope Paul VI

Blessed Pope Paul VI’s papacy began on June 21, 1963 and he served until his death on August 6, 1978. He was born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini in Italy in 1897. Ordained in 1920, Pope Paul VI was never appointed a Parish Priest.  Rather he had a long career in the Roman Curia, or the papal civil service. His position as one of the heads of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See established a close relationship with Pope Pius XII.

As requested by Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI was very involved in providing aid to refugees and displaced soldiers. In 1954, he was appointed the Archbishop of Milan making him the Secretary of the Italian Bishop Conference. During this time, Blessed Pope Paul VI was vocal about political issues like working conditions and labor laws, built over 100 new churches, and reached the public by speaking in in schools, hospitals, places of work, courtyards and even barracks. His goal was to re-introduce the Catholic Faith and generate more public participation and stewardship. Blessed Pope Paul VI is perhaps best known for the Humanae Vitae which reaffirmed the churches stance on contraception in 1968, at a time when many speculated the church might change its views marriage and marital relations.

In September of 1965, Blessed Pope Paul VI created the Synod of Bishops, a selected group of Bishops to meet periodically as an advisory body to the papacy also known as the Code of Canon Law (CIC).  It is fitting that Pope Paul VI will be canonized this October during the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

206 Tours - Pope Paul VI & Oscar Romero

He left behind Peter’s Boat and exchanged it for a Plane. He visited nineteen (19) countries throughout the five continents, in nine (9) Apostolic visits. Included in the Pontiff’s travels were New York, Iran, the Philippines, Colombia, and Portugal. When he finally returned from the Holy Land, he went out to the streets of Rome with open arms.

Blessed Archbishop Óscar Romero

Blessed Óscar Romero is revered as a strong advocate of the marginalized and poor, often speaking out about social injustice, violence, and poverty.

The Archbishop of San Salvador was born Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez on August 15, 2917. He was ordained in 1942, and after two decades in El Salvadorian parishes, he was appointed rector of the inter-diocesan seminary in San Salvador.  In 1970 Romero was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Salvador before becoming the Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago de Maria in 1974 and subsequently the Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.

Just a month after being appointed Archbishop, Blessed Archbishop Óscar Romero’s close friend, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Rutilio Grande was assassinated in front of him. Deeply disturbed, Romero became an even stronger advocate against violence. He gained a huge following through the use of radio and the press.  

On March 23, 1980, after delivering a sermon in which he called on Salvadoran soldiers to end violations of basic human rights on behalf of the government, a gunman entered the chapel and fired a shot killing Romero on the altar. After the assassination, over 250,000 mourners from all over the world traveled to attend his funeral in San Salvador. During the funeral mass, chaos erupted on the streets of San Salvador, leaving dozens dead.  

Romero’s ardent seeking of peace has left a legacy that has touched millions. Many worldwide political and religious figures have nominated him for the Nobel Peace prize. In 2010 the UN named March 25, “the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims” in honor of Romero celebrating his strong in defense of human rights.  

In 2015, Pope Francis beatified Romero calling him a “voice that continues to resonate” with an estimated 250,000 people attending the services and thousands more watching via television. 

206 Tours - Oscar Romero
El Salvador, in many ways, is a country that is still suffering the violence that he died trying to stop. In 2007, Pope Francis (then, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) reportedly told a Salvadorian Priest “… to me, (Romero) is a Saint and a Martyr. If I were Pope, I would have already Canonized him.”

Join a 206 Tours Pilgrimage in celebration of the Canonizations of Blessed Pope Paul Vi and Blessed Archbishop Óscar Romero. Register before June 13, 2018 and get $200 off with discount code PAULVI.

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In honor of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, also known as Padre Pio’s, 131st birthday, we’d like to celebrate his inspiring and amazing life and legacy by sharing some of our favorite words of wisdom that he imparted to us during his life on earth.
Francesco Forgione was born on May 15, 1887, to Italian peasant farmers. Padre Pio was known to have expressed a strong desire to dedicate his life to God as early as five years old. In 1903, he became a Friar at the young age of 15 and was ordained as a Priest in 1910. After his death on September 23, 1968, Saint Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio in 1999, and subsequently canonized him in 2002.
Saint Padre Pio is perhaps most famously known for his stigmata, visions, and the gift of healing. He is recognized as the Patron Saint of Civil Defense Volunteersas he served in the military as a Friar in World War I. He spent much of his life ill and in pain, yet remained extremely faithful, hopeful, and even joyful. For this, he is venerated as a symbol of hope – inspiring and consoling those in times of struggle through unwavering faith.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes from Saint Padre Pio:

1. “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” 

Padre Pio - 206 Tours

2. “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact, on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.” 

3. “The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.” 

4. “Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter.”

Padre Pio - 206 Tours

5.  “Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.” 

6. “The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.” 

Padre Pio - 206 Tours

7. “The storms that are raging around you will turn out to be for God’s glory, your own merit, and the good of many souls.” 

8. “You must have boundless faith in the divine goodness, for the victory is absolutely certain.” 

9. “My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future to Your providence.” 

Padre Pio - 206 Tours

10. “You complain because the same trials are constantly returning. But look here, what have you to fear? Are you afraid of the divine craftsman who wants to perfect His masterpiece in this way? Would you like to come from the hands of such a magnificent Artist as a mere sketch and no more?”      

11. “I recommend calm and calm all the time.” 

Padre Pio - 206 Tours

12. “How unbearable is pain when suffered far from the Cross, but how sweet and bearable it becomes when it is offered close to the Cross of Jesus!” 

13. “If we earnestly endeavor to love Jesus, this alone will drive all fear from our hearts and soul will find that instead of walking in the Lord’s paths, it is flying.” 

14. “The greater your sufferings, the greater God’s love for you.” 

Padre Pio - 206 Tours
    This year we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Saint Padre Pio entering into eternal life – and – the 100th Anniversary of his Stigmata. Join us on a pilgrimage to Italy to celebrate the life and legacy of Saint Padre Pio!

    St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina”100th Anniversary of the Stigmata”50th Anniversary Pilgrimage to Italy

    September 17 – 27, 2018

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